I want to thank everybody who congratulated me on my qualifying for the Florida State Golf Association Mid-Amateur match play championship and for all the well wishes I received. Some have asked about if my preparation for the tournament will change. I thought I would give an overview of everything, hopefully to provide an idea of what happens in these tournaments.
THE RED TAPE STUFF
The tournament is from October 6th (Thursday) thru October 9th. Here’s the itinerary (I believe):
October 6th – 36 hole stroke play qualifier
October 7th – Afternoon 1st round match play
October 8th – 2nd and 3rd round Match play
October 9th – Semi-final and Final round match play
At least I think that is how it will work. 32 players qualify. I estimate that 150 in stroke play will be the cut.
First, I have to pay for the actual Mid-Am tournament ($125). Then, I have to get a practice round tee time at Old Marsh Club (another $30) and then I have to book a room. The FSGA appears to have done a great job helping us with getting rooms for $69/night at the Marriott in Palm Beach Gardens. I’ve never had other Golf Associations strike a deal for us like that.
Those have all been taken care of, so my itinerary is:
October 4th – go to work, hit balls during lunch, leave for Palm Beach and check into the hotel room around 7pm
October 5th – get some practice time and a practice round at Old Marsh Golf Club at noon.
October 6th – First day of the tournament.
I’ve booked the hotel room to checkout on Friday in case I don’t make the cut for match play. I figure that if I make the cut, I should be able to extend the stay. If I don’t make the cut, I may head back home on Thursday and go back to work (depends on how I feel).
I’m pretty much satisfied with the equipment I was using at the qualifier. I did purchase a slightly used Adams Speedline F11 3-wood for a good price at Golf Galaxy before the qualifier and used it there. I had an old Talamonti PD-70 TourX shaft hanging around and I used that and installed the Harrison ShotMaker insert. However, I will be getting a Talamonti PD-80 X-shaft in the mail soon to install in there.
I was also using an Adams 9064LS driver with a Talamonti PD-70 X shaft. I will install another Harrison ShotMaker insert in the club and see how it performs as well. I believe I am still suffering from hitting too much down on the ball with the driver and the ShotMaker brings the ball flight down, so it may not work for now. But other than those 2 items, I don’t foresee any other changes in equipment.
At the risk of sounding careless or aloof, I am looking to use the Mid-Am as more of a learning experience than with the thought of winning the tournament. My main goal as a golfer is to one day qualify for match play of the US Amateur (which I will get to in a post in the next month or so).
I believed the idea of not recording myself on camera or going on Trackman right before the tournament was a good idea and I think it worked. Since I would like to try and qualify for the US Amateur in 2012, I need to get back into the swing of things as far as improving my game.
I’ll be back to recording my swing on video and I will probably do that up until Monday October 3rd. I will also be getting a lesson from my instructor, George Hunt (www.moradgolfgeorgehunt.com) this Sunday, September 25th.
However, I still want to win the tournament. I don’t come to a tournament to not win. But, I need to also think ahead a bit. Thus, the main idea for the lesson for me is to ‘throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks.’ I think George and I have developed a good feel for how he teaches and how I learn, so I don’t think it will be that big of an issue.
Other than that, it’s pretty much the same stuff…practice on the range after work, play on the weekends, etc.
I feel the qualifier benefited me tremendously because I had a gameplan and a mental plan in place, I stuck to those plans, and it worked. Furthermore, the stuff that did not work or was a bit shaky, I understood why that was the case.
I think statistically I didn’t putt that well versus the field. I’ve broken that down to a few reasons:
1. Tournament nerves
2. Not used to the speed of the greens
3. Hitting Greens, but leaving myself with long and difficult 1st putts
4. Only average power off the tee.
I think #1 and #2 will improve, just from the experience. #4 can be solved down the road, but not right now (clubhead speed is there, attack angle needs work).
Given my score and reason #3, it does show to me the power behind hitting greens. I bogeyed my first two holes and I did not putt well after that. But, I just kept on hitting greens and that made it difficult to take more than a bogey on a hole. Eventually, I got to the point where I started to get a feel for the greens and calmed my nerves a bit and I putted quite well on the last 6 holes (9 putts on the last 6 holes).
I’ve never played Old Marsh before, but it’s a Pete Dye design which typically means he is very tough on tee shots and has about 4-6 holes that are subject to high scores. He’ll probably have about 9 gorgeous holes and then about 4-5 holes that are really not that great in design. I think of Dye as the Dave Kingman of designers, he’ll either hit a home run on a hole, do something utterly ridiculous, or strike out completely.
I might even try to get on Walkabout Golf Club (another Dye design) to get some prep for Old Marsh.
I think the key is really in the practice round. Knowing Dye’s designs, he will likely have a bunch of semi-blind tee shots where you cannot see where the hazards are (and he’ll have hazards on both sides) from the tee box. A lot of the practice round will be about figuring out where to aim off the tee box.
Dye also tends to leave one side of the hole wide open, tricking the golfer that it is okay to go over there, but in reality he’ll leave the golfer with a very tough lie or a shot around some trees to contend with.
From there I will be doing more of the same things like testing out where the best places to get up and down from are…finding the high and low anchor points on the green, seeking out the difficult pin positions, testing out the sand and trying to figure out what holes are the ‘problem holes’ and focus on mastering them.